State-owned national fixed line operator Togo Telecom, which has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy for several years, having failed to reverse a trend of poor financial results that started in 2008, has announced plans to resurrect its fixed line and broadband business in 2016. In a statement last week, Togo Telecom CEO Romain Tagba apologised for the incumbent’s poor performance and for the inconvenience caused to consumers as a result of its myriad promises. Further, the official has promised ‘better services at better prices’ in 2016, with a focus on ramping up its broadband products and services.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Togo Telecom presided over a network with capacity of more than 500,000 lines at the end of December 2015, a figure that TeleGeography estimates was broadly unchanged from twelve months earlier – not least the result of the PTO’s woeful financial position. According to the findings of a state-led inquiry into the operator’s ongoing malaise in 2014, the government attributed Togo Telecom’s decline to ‘poor management’ and systemic failure by the council that was set up by the government to monitor the telco’s performance and protect the interests of the state. The state alleged at the time that numerous questionable financial transactions had been conducted in the past six or seven years, all of which left Togo Telecom with a USD190.1 million black hole in its books.
In a bid to turn the operator around, in March 2015 the government of the tiny African nation pledged to intercede to rebuild its cash-strapped national operator and its wholly owned subsidiary Togo Cellulaire (Togocel), pumping in funds to regenerate both carriers. Under the regeneration plan announced by the post and digital minister Cina Lawson, the state intends to upgrade the PTO’s network, providing improved services, affordable broadband internet access, better day-to-day management and a tighter control of spending. Additionally, the government is looking to rebrand Togocel and overhaul the cellco’s whole infrastructure to make it competitive in a modern telecommunications market. The government sees the regeneration plan as essential, saying that a successful telecoms industry is vital to achieve its goals for a successful digital economy.